With all that’s gone on lately at Celtic and the huge gap left by the postponed matches, Neil Lennon and his squad will have enjoyed hearing some positive news about the upcoming Champions League tie with KR Reykjavik.
Lennon would have wanted his players to be building their game time up in the run up to the tie. The postponed matches against St Mirren and Aberdeen will have been a disruption to that plan, never mind all the distraction and noise which has surrounded the club in recent days.
To hear KR Reykjavik manager Runar Kristinsson talk about the troubles his own side are facing will be welcome news for Lennon and his players. They shouldn’t need a boost to get past this round, but right now Celtic fans will take anything they can get which might help. Maybe Kristinsson’s concerns will have helped overcome his previous boring view of the match.
Kristinsson, according to the Daily Record, has a few additional concerns behind the basic worries of an away tie against a superior Celtic team. The Icelandic league has been on hold for around 3 weeks due to coronavirus issues. His team have just returned to action in a 2-1 loss to FH Hafnarfjaroar. Preparations for that match and for the Celtic game are limited by Icelandic Government rules and regulations covering training. Kristinsson explained that training sessions are heavily restricted:
"“There is no contact allowed and there is also a two metre rule, so we are not training properly.”"
He admitted that’s left his side feeling rusty and lacking sharpness. So although the Icelandic side have a more recent game under their belt, Celtic’s postponements aren’t perhaps as big an issue as they first seemed.
In addition though, Kristinsson faces important selection decisions as a couple of his key players, Kristinn Jonsson and Kristjan Floka Finnbogason, both had to leave the pitch injured in that last game played.
Celtic don’t have significant injury issues, team selection should be less problematic and perhaps the biggest decision will be whether Ajeti gets a starting spot, is on the bench or needs more time to get up to speed. A part match appearance at least is likely to be demanded by fans. Neil Lennon will make his own decision.
The Hoops, as mentioned earlier, should be able to get back to business successfully and win the one legged tie comfortably. But everything that helps ensure that result is welcome. It’ll be great to get back to the action again next week and see how the team perform.